Saturday, 22 June 2024

‘Furiosa’ Mad Max prequel thrills; ‘The Veil’ spy game on FX


The “Mad Max” universe, launched more than 40 years ago, has spawned a string of wildly successful action pictures based upon the exploits of the protagonist in a post-apocalyptic world filled with violence and mayhem.

The fifth film, “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” is a prequel to 2015’s “Mad Max: Fury Road,” where Charlize Theron’s Furiosa was joined by Tom Hardy’s Max for a road battle with warlord Immortan Joe.

As an origin story, the titular character in “Furiosa” is first seen as a spunky young girl (Alyla Browne), torn from her idyllic homeland called the “Green Place” by biker thugs under the command of Dementus (Chris Hemsworth).

After the abduction from the sanctuary, Furiosa’s mother (Charlee Fraser), bravely wielding a machete gives chase, taking out many bikers before suffering a grisly fate that drives her daughter’s relentless quest for revenge.

What follows for Furiosa, now captive in a dystopian world where survival of the fittest is not just some Darwinian theory, is avenging the brutal murder of her mother with a target on Dementus, that she carries into adulthood (Anya Taylor-Joy, filling the part for the balance of the film).

Having in mind to subjugate other criminal enclaves, Dementus launches an assault on the Citadel, ruled by Immortan Joe (Lachy Hulme), that fails, and then ultimately delivers Furiosa to Joe. To avoid sexual advances, Furiosa cuts her hair and pretends to be male.

Coming into her own as a warrior, Furiosa escapes by hiding in a huge rig driven by Praetorian Jack (Tom Burke), which allows for her to prove her worth as an ally in fending off endless attacks from vicious, heavily armed bikers.

As this film is a prequel, there is no Max in this “Mad Max Saga,” a role played by Mel Gibson for the first three films, but a future awaits where renegade warrior Furiosa will team up with Tom Hardy’s Max.

In reality, suspense is lacking to a certain extent with the knowledge that, no matter the dire situations in which Furiosa may fall, the heroine of the story will live to fight another day in her revenge quest.

Fans of the franchise will likely not be disappointed in “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” because what matters for writer and director George Miller is the sheer spectacle of protracted chases and amazing stunts.


In the international spy game, it often seems that the protagonists are plagued either by personal demons or conflicts in the workplace, or just maybe a combination of the two. But this was never an issue for James Bond.

In any case, FX Network’s spy thriller series “The Veil” explores the fraught relationship between two women who play a deadly game of cat and mouse where the threat of a nuclear attack on American shores must be averted.

Elisabeth Moss’ British MI6 agent Imogen Salter is on a mission that begins at a refugee camp on the border of Syria and Turkey where Yumna Marwan’s Adilah El Idrissi has been hiding out while holding on to a secret that could reveal the plans of a dangerous terrorist organization.

In the shadows, mission controllers at the CIA and the French intelligence service DGSE must work together, albeit with a lot of territorial conflict, to avert a potential disaster threatening untold number of lives on the East Coast.

During the winter press tour, FX’s panel discussion included Steve Knight, the executive producer and writer of the show, who made it known the idea came from a colleague who suggested the friction between allied intelligence agencies was fertile ground for a story.

In doing research for the series, Knight went to Paris, noting that in meeting three people in French intelligence” he found that “the true stories are much more compelling.”

Knight discovered that what appealed to him most is “when big, big international conflicts, events, boil down to individuals,” and that’s how “The Veil” is focused on “two people in a car driving through snow, and the nature of the conversations affects the outcome for thousands of people.”

We learn a lot about Imogen haunted by her past but doing great at her job, which is to figure out on the way back to Paris as to whether Adilah is someone who just wants to get home to her young daughter or is a pivotal member of a group planning a terror attack.

With Imogen and Adilah, the essence of their interaction is purely psychological. It’s only when CIA agent Max Peterson (Josh Charles) is on the scene to spar with French agent Malik Amar (Dali Benssalah) that the action expected in a spy thriller really takes hold.

Elisabeth Moss delivers a gripping performance and the exotic locales from Istanbul to Paris and London are stunning. “The Veil” demands an attentiveness on the part of the audience to follow the twists and turns of a relationship between two women on the edge.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

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